Are You Sleeping Okay?

Despite my age and the inevitable process of hormonal change, I don’t lie awake for hours at night, or have trouble falling asleep, or wake up at four in the morning unable to go back to sleep. In fact, I can say that I usually enjoy undisturbed slumber, which is certainly a blessing, and not to be taken for granted.

My husband, as well as many of my friends, are not as fortunate, and I can see it eating at them. It got me thinking about my own sleep strategies, such as they are.

First of all: I have a really boring, regular lifestyle. No more late nights out, no all-nighters at my desk, and no partying. This began when I found myself having to care for two schoolchildren as a part-time single parent, when my husband was out of town for 4 days every week. The pressure of having to get two Little People up, fed and ready for their days, and out the door on time was the reason I got smart and started to turn in by a certain, very reasonable time. As a (former, dare I say it??) migraine patient, I’m used to eat regular meals and keep up a healthy fluid intake like clockwork, and of course sleep made a difference there, too. I have 1 to 2 coffees a day, no later than midday.

Now, as a dog owner, the daily walks also do wonders in terms of my being physically tired. I’m outside four times, between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.-ish, getting in an average of 5 km of walking a day, and 2,5 hours of fresh air.

Nutrition-wise, I don’t have many consciously healthy habits; our foods are mostly organic; we eat dairy products but very little meat or fish, maybe twice a week. I personally don’t have sweets or snacks after dinner. We eat lots of fruit, though, and if there is dessert, I have it, too. Often, I have a cup of herbal tea after dinner.

When it’s bed time, I go through my three-step skincare routine, brush and floss, put on my PJs and light the pretty tea-candle light my daughter gave me for Christmas. Then I spend a little time catching up on IG, maybe read a little – and that is all it takes to make me sleepy.

There are exceptions, though. Over the last two weeks, I was on a deadline. Submitted a book translation last Friday, and thinking I was smart, reclused myself to the country cottage with the pup for a week, in order to be able to concentrate and pull off the extra hours without having to care for anybody else’s needs but mine and the dog’s. So far so good.

But in the end, I played myself: Got a stupid head cold (not Covid!) that made my teeth hurt, was still on the clock, and in fact ended up not sleeping nearly enough because I was pulling late nights and, since the place cools down as the woodburner goes out over night, I’d still wake up around six a.m., chilled! I mean, I got the work done, client’s happy and all, but it was exhausting. Now, back at our central-heated place in the city, I’ve been catching up on sleep :-).

Still, it was beautiful. I took long lunchtime walks and watched nature wake up – here’s a few pictures of early spring out in the country:

Crafts weren’t happening, because my wrists can handle only one of the two: lots of intense typing, or knitting/crochet.

I did realize that my red sweater needed wider sleeves, so unraveled what I’d done and redid the first one over the weekend. The second one I hope to re-do the next couple of nights while catching up on all the episodes of Star Trek Discovery and Picard that I missed over the last few weeks. But for now, that sweater is mostly a pile of red knit without much rhyme or reason.

The current state of things in Ukraine is still weighing heavily. We’ve donated money, my daughter’s school has organized transports with clothing, food, sanitary products, my son’s former school auctioned the art of senior grade students to collect money. Friends of ours who can have offered refugee families shelter. But ultimately, we hope and pray there will be a diplomatic solution – the Ukranian president seems hopeful that it’s possible. Oh, may he be right about that!

But, all in all, it gives me hope to see how many people are trying to be supportive. It seems we get to see the worst sides of humanity as well as the best…

Thank you people for caring, and for reading. Have a great spring!